Sunday, March 15, 2009

Document Based/Menu Driven

This picture is one classroom session I attended. I was in a total of twelve sessions during the three days. My wife attended twelve different sessions.

TI-Nspire is the next generation of graphing calculator after TI-83 and TI-84. It's actually a computer that will save and retrieve documents using familiar commands. This is helpful when students run out of time in class and need to save finished or unfinished work for the next day.

A file on the calculator will show 5 tabs similar to manila folder tabs. Each tab is an application.  One is "calculator" which is for formula entry, another is "spreadsheet" for data, a third one is for "graphs and geometric shapes", one for notes, and one for "data and statistics". These apps are all connected for the problem being worked.  Just click or key to move from one app to the other.

One session leader demonstrated how to use TI-Nspire to compute the frequency of prime numbers between 0 and 1000. He next computed the frequency of prime numbers between 1001 and 2000 and so on to 50,000. The calculator plotted these frequencies as data points in one app. He used the "slider" feature to increment the formula while data points were plotted on an X-Y coordinates plane. The "grab hand" was used to grip the X-axis to stretch it to accommodate the 50 increments. Can you guess the shape of the curve that best fit these data points?  If you decided a logarithmic-like curve that never quite touched the X -axis, you would be correct.

There are many excellent features about TI-Nspire.  One is the ease with which data points can be loaded and examined by gripping a polynomial curve or geometric shape to change shape or size.  The calculator automatically records all data points into apps from movements that changed the polynomial or geometric shape.

Return here next week for more of my reaction to the conference.

Have a good week!

Click on images to enlarge.


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